Ali's good deed from years ago, along with her review of Striving for Greatness got me thinking about what's more important-happy, uplifting stories about people doing good things out of the kindness of their hearts or through their strength in their faith, stories that inspire us to this kind of action ourselves or stories about the atrocities people can inflict on one another, stories that anger us, shock us, sadden us, and make us want to stand up and take action against such behavior.
Is one type of story more effective than another? Does it depend on the reader or the particular acts being discussed? Is a story about cruelty to animals more likely to move someone to action than a story about people who rescue animals? Alternately, is a story about humanitarian efforts in a foreign country more likely to inspire support than a story telling about the atrocities perpetrated by a warlord in that same country?
What do you think? Have you read a book, seen a movie, heard an interview that inspired you to take action to make the world a better place, even if it just means smiling more to strangers on the street or not being as snippy with telemarketers? Or maybe even made you go to church or volunteer to do something outside of your comfort zone? Was it because you were inspired by the good in others or scared by the bad? Did you want to stand up and join in or stand up and fight?
Ultimately, I suppose we need both, the good and the bad, to remind us that both are still out there. We need the good to keep us from becoming cynical, jaded, and hopeless; we need the bad to keep us from becoming complacent, ... well, that's about all I can come up with. What do ya'll think?